Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Cheap Talk and Whine


No Whining by Flickr User Rachael Voorhees, CC License = Attribution, No Derivative Works

No Whining by Flickr User Rachael Voorhees, CC License = Attribution, No Derivative Works
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

When I read in the Scriptures of people whose whining upset Yahveh, my first reaction is to look at myself and check to see if I have been hanging out at the complaint department window too much myself. It’s easy to do, especially in our current culture of constant comfort seeking and bad attitudes caused by lack of rest and improper diets. Add to those things the media blitz of commercials advertising the stuff we can’t possibly live without any longer, and whining becomes almost second nature.

In today’s reading from Numbers 10:29 through Numbers 11:29, we see a few different personalities from the people of Israel, and some of them are not pretty. The reading begins with Moses trying to convince Hobab, the son of Moses’ father-in-law, to travel to the promised land with Israel. He wants to go home to his own people, but Moses convinces him that he’ll be blessed because of the promises God gives to Israel. In the next verse, the people are heading in that direction, so I guess he convinced him. I don’t think the Midianites served the God of Israel, so this may have been the first recorded act of proselytizing.

As the journey begins, the Scripture talks about Moses reaction to the movements of The Ark of the Covenant. When it was lifted to move forward, Moses would shout a praise to The Lord and a blessing that His enemies would be scattered. When it was set down again to rest. Moses said, “Return, Adonai of the many, many thousands of Israel!” But while Moses was shouting praises, the same could not be said of the others on the journey with him. Instead, the people complained so much that they stirred up God’s anger until He broke out against them with fire and consumed the edges of the camp. Oh, if only they had taken Moses’ example and spent their time praising their deliverer.

Some of the complaining from the people came from the mixed crowd with whom they were traveling. The strangers became greedy for comfort and got the people complaining about the provision of mannah. The people started crying and whining about the lack of meat and spices until God finally told them they would have a full month of meat, and they would eat so much that it would be coming out of their noses–and they would hate it. When they should have be content with God’s provision for them, they were ungrateful and wishing they were back in their bondage.

By now, Moses was beginning his own whining, but it did not appear to be the type that made Adonai angry. Moses asks God why He is allowing the burden of all the people to rest solely on him, especially if He is pleased with all that Moses is doing. God understands and tells Moses to choose seventy leaders of Israel with whom he can share his burden. God takes some of the burden off of Moses and places it on the seventy elders who begin to prophesy whenever God’s Spirit rested on them.

As we get to the end of today’s reading, we find two men in the camp named Eldad and Medad, and the Spirit of God comes to rest on them, so they begin to prophesy in the camp. A young man runs to tell Moses about it, and when Joshua hears about it, he tells Moses that he should make them stop. But Moses tells Joshua that he wished all of God’s people were prophets and that God would put His Spirit on all of them.

I can understand Moses sentiments in the last paragraph. After hearing the people whine and complain and seeing what that brought upon the people, Moses would want them all to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit for their own protection as much as to relieve him of some of his burden. When I see people follow after the things of the soul (the mind, will, and emotions) instead of after the things of the spirit, I get frustrated and wish more people would seek God from the depths of their hearts. The things of the soul can imitate the spirit (which is how we get false prophets), but we’re told that the “soulish” man won’t receive things from God. It is far better to let God’s Spirit take over our spirit-man and be led by God’s truth, and then we will be sensitive to the moving of God, so we can lift up genuine shouts of praise to Him instead of spending our prayer times caught up in the “why me” syndrome or in depressing cheap talk and whining.

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May 29, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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